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MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) articles

Displaying 1 - 20 of 72

3D printing colloidal crystals

3D printing colloidal crystals
MIT engineers have united the principles of self-assembly and 3D printing using a new technique, which they highlight today in the journal Advanced Materials. By their direct-write colloidal assembly process, the researchers can build centimeter-high crystals, each made from billions of individual colloids, defined as particles that are between 1nm and 1μm cross.
3rd September 2018

Introducing the latest in textiles: soft hardware

Introducing the latest in textiles: soft hardware
The latest development in textiles and fibres is a kind of soft hardware that you can wear: cloth that has electronic devices built right into it. Researchers at MIT have now embedded high speed optoelectronic semiconductor devices, including light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and diode photodetectors, within fibres that were then woven at Inman Mills, in South Carolina, into soft, washable fabrics and made into communication systems.
10th August 2018

Sustainable coatings make natural fabrics waterproof

Sustainable coatings make natural fabrics waterproof
Fabrics that resist water are essential for everything from rainwear to military tents, but conventional water-repellent coatings have been shown to persist in the environment and accumulate in our bodies, and so are likely to be phased out for safety reasons. That leaves a big gap to be filled if researchers can find safe substitutes. Now, a team at MIT has come up with a promising solution: a coating that not only adds water-repellency to natural fabrics such as cotton and silk, but is also more effective than the existing coatings.
2nd July 2018


Magnetic 3D-printed structures crawl, roll and jump

Magnetic 3D-printed structures crawl, roll and jump
MIT engineers have created soft, 3D-printed structures whose movements can be controlled with a wave of a magnet, much like marionettes without the strings. The menagerie of structures that can be magnetically manipulated includes a smooth ring that wrinkles up, a long tube that squeezes shut, a sheet that folds itself, and a spider-like 'grabber' that can crawl, roll, jump, and snap together fast enough to catch a passing ball. It can even be directed to wrap itself around a small pill and carry it across a table.
19th June 2018

The heart of carbon nanotube clusters

The heart of carbon nanotube clusters
Integrating nanoscale fibres such as carbon nanotubes (CNTs) into commercial applications, from coatings for aircraft wings to heat sinks for mobile computing, requires them to be produced in large scale and at low cost. Chemical vapor deposition (CVD) is a promising approach to manufacture CNTs in the needed scales, but it produces CNTs that are too sparse and compliant for most applications.
14th February 2018

Chameleon properties inspire 3D-printed objects

Chameleon properties inspire 3D-printed objects
3D printing has evolved from basic designs to a wide range of highly-customisable objects. Still, there’s a big issue: Once objects are printed, they’re final. If you need a change, you’ll need a reprint. But imagine if that weren’t the case — if, for example, you could change the colour of your smartphone case or earrings on demand. Researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have gotten closer to making that a reality.
29th January 2018

Topological materials could boost the efficiency of thermoelectric devices

Topological materials could boost the efficiency of thermoelectric devices
What if you could run your air conditioner not on conventional electricity, but on the sun’s heat during a warm summer’s day? With advancements in thermoelectric technology, this sustainable solution might one day become a reality. Thermoelectric devices are made from materials that can convert a temperature difference into electricity, without requiring any moving parts — a quality that makes thermoelectrics a potentially appealing source of electricity.
17th January 2018

An alternative way to store thermal energy

An alternative way to store thermal energy
  In large parts of the developing world, people have abundant heat from the sun during the day, but most cooking takes place later in the evening when the sun is down, using fuel — such as wood, brush or dung — that is collected with significant time and effort. Now, a new chemical composite developed by researchers at MIT could provide an alternative.
20th November 2017

Artificial intelligence aids materials fabrication

Artificial intelligence aids materials fabrication
In recent years, research efforts such as the Materials Genome Initiative and the Materials Project have produced a wealth of computational tools for designing new materials useful for a range of applications, from energy and electronics to aeronautics and civil engineering. But developing processes for producing those materials has continued to depend on a combination of experience, intuition, and manual literature reviews.
6th November 2017

3D-printed device builds improved nanofibres

3D-printed device builds improved nanofibres
  Meshes made from fibres with nanometer-scale diameters have a wide range of potential applications, including tissue engineering, water filtration, solar cells, and even body armour. But their commercialisation has been hampered by inefficient manufacturing techniques.
30th October 2017

3D printing software enables evaluation of macroscopic designs

3D printing software enables evaluation of macroscopic designs
The precise control of printed objects’ microstructure gives designers commensurate control of the objects’ physical properties — such as their density or strength, or the way they deform when subjected to stresses. Today’s 3D printers have a resolution of 600 dots per inch, which means that they could pack a billion tiny cubes of different materials into a volume that measures just 1.67 cubic inches. 
4th August 2017

Graphene creates transparent and flexible solar cells

Graphene creates transparent and flexible solar cells
Can you imagine a future in which solar cells are all around us - on windows and walls, cell phones or laptops? A new flexible, transparent solar cell developed at MIT is bringing that future one step closer. The device combines low-cost organic (carbon-containing) materials with electrodes of graphene, a flexible, transparent material made from inexpensive and abundant carbon sources. This advance in solar technology was enabled by a novel method of depositing a one-atom-thick layer of graphene onto the solar cell - without damaging nearby sensitive organic materials.
1st August 2017

Gel coatings lead to better catheters and condoms

Gel coatings lead to better catheters and condoms
Catheters, intravenous lines, and other types of surgical tubing are a medical necessity for managing a wide range of diseases. But a patient’s experience with such devices is rarely a comfortable one. Now MIT engineers have designed a gel-like material that can be coated onto standard plastic or rubber devices, providing a softer, more slippery exterior that can significantly ease a patient’s discomfort. The coating can even be tailored to monitor and treat signs of infection.
19th July 2017

Origami algorithm generates any 3D structure

Origami algorithm generates any 3D structure
In a 1999 paper, Erik Demaine — now an MIT professor of electrical engineering and computer science, but then an 18-year-old PhD student at the University of Waterloo, in Canada — described an algorithm that could determine how to fold a piece of paper into any conceivable 3D shape. It was a milestone paper in the field of computational origami, but the algorithm didn’t yield very practical folding patterns.
23rd June 2017

Metal's behaviour could lead to next-gen infrared detectors

Metal's behaviour could lead to next-gen infrared detectors
Mid-infrared wavelengths of light are invisible to the eye but can be useful for a number of technologies, including night vision, thermal sensing, and environmental monitoring. Now, a new phenomenon in an unconventional metal, found by physicists at MIT and elsewhere, could provide a new way of making highly sensitive detectors for these elusive wavelengths. The phenomenon is closely related to a particle that has been predicted by high-energy physicists but never observed.
31st May 2017

Programmable pasta and shape-shifting noodles

Programmable pasta and shape-shifting noodles
MIT researchers are finding ways to make the dining experience interactive and fun, with food that can transform its shape when water is added. The researchers, from MIT’s Tangible Media Group, have concocted something akin to edible origami, in the form of flat sheets of gelatin and starch that, when submerged in water, instantly sprout into three-dimensional structures, including common pasta shapes such as macaroni and rotini.
25th May 2017

Workout suit responds to athlete’s sweat

Workout suit responds to athlete’s sweat
A team of MIT researchers has designed a breathable workout suit with ventilating flaps that open and close in response to an athlete’s body heat and sweat. These flaps, which range from thumbnail- to finger-sized, are lined with live microbial cells that shrink and expand in response to changes in humidity. The cells act as tiny sensors and actuators, driving the flaps to open when an athlete works up a sweat, and pulling them closed when the body has cooled off.
23rd May 2017

Actuators bend as they let oxygen in and out

Actuators bend as they let oxygen in and out
Carrying out maintenance tasks inside a nuclear plant puts severe strains on equipment, due to extreme temperatures that are hard for components to endure without degrading. Now, researchers at MIT and elsewhere have come up with a radically new way to make actuators that could be used in such extremely hot environments. The system relies on oxide materials similar to those used in many of today’s rechargeable batteries, in that ions move in and out of the material during charging and discharging cycles.
9th May 2017

3D printing made simple

3D printing made simple
MIT spinout New Valence Robotics (NVBOTS) has brought to market the only fully automated commercial 3D printer that’s equipped with cloud-based queuing and automatic part removal, making print jobs quicker and easier for multiple users, and dropping the cost per part. To use the printer, called NVPro, a user submits a project from any device, which queues up in the NVCloud software.
9th May 2017

Technique produces stronger polymers

Technique produces stronger polymers
Plastic, rubber, and many other useful materials are made of polymers — long chains arranged in a cross-linked network. At the molecular level, these polymer networks contain structural flaws that weaken them. Several years ago, MIT researchers were the first to measure certain types of these defects, called 'loops,' which are caused when a chain in the polymer network binds to itself instead of another chain.
27th April 2017


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